Don’t Cheat on Your Taxes. God Doesn’t Like it (Romans 13:6-7)

Everybody does it, right? You deduct 1,100 miles when you only drove 900 or you say that you donated 8 pairs of designer jeans in new condition when it was only 4 and they were pretty beat up. What are the dangers of those little white lies on your taxes?

Verse:

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor..” – Romans 13: 6-7

Background:

Interestingly, when Paul wrote the book of Romans around 56 A.D., he had never been to Rome. He had been preaching for the past 10 years and founded numerous churches so most scholars believe that by this time, Paul was a mature and knowledgeable minister of the Gospel. Romans serves to not only introduce Paul to the Roman church but also to talk about many of the great themes of the Gospel.

Study:

Here’s a startling figure: According to 2012 story, CNN reports that the 2006 tax gap was $385 billion. (They collected $65 billion to arrive at that number but apparently it took them six years to do it) For you non-financial types, the tax gap represents the additional funds the IRS should have collected from tax payers if every person and business were to accurately report their income.

How many of your Facebook friends love to post daily statuses about politics?. How many of those posts revolve around the government’s inability to manage debt? You can argue that the government is pretty bad at managing their checkbook, and maybe you’re right, but if they’re being cheated out of $385 billion a year, that’s more money they have to borrow–at least in simplistic terms. At the risk of starting a big political debate, a will stop short on this but regardless of what you think of our government, first, we need to look at ourselves.

Do you love you a good internet purchase? In a lot of states, you have to pay sales tax on those purchases when you file your state taxes. Do you? Do you over inflate the amount of clothes that were in the bag you took to Goodwill? People “embellish” their deductions all of the time and let’s be real–the reason we don’t think too much about it is because the amounts are so small.

But God does think about it and if He were standing in front of you, He would tell you that you’re stealing from the government. In the eyes of your Heavenly Father, what you’re doing is no different than going to your neighbor’s house and stealing a bike or going to Walmart and stealing a pair of pants. It doesn’t matter what you think of the government. Look at what God says:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God…”Romans 13:1

God isn’t concerned with what you think about the government’s allocation of taxes. He’s concerned with you honoring Him by paying what you owe. God doesn’t recognize the difference between a little white lie (or untrue deduction) or a major deception the size of the now famous Ponzi Scheme of Bernie Madoff. God recognizes that a lie, any lie, pulls you a little further away from Him and the small amount of money you save by not reporting all of your income isn’t that important. Finally, remember that a small sin desensitizes you making it easier to sin again and as we all know each sin tends to get a little bigger.

Cheating on your taxes is no different than going to Walmart and stealing a pair of pants.

 

Action:

This year, be absolutely truthful on your taxes. Put aside your opinions on the politics of taxes and simply pay what you owe. Also notice what else God says in Romans 13:6-7. If you owe somebody honor or respect, give it to them even if you don’t think they deserve it. The basis of this verse is that it’s not about somebody else. It’s about you and your heart. When your heart is right, God rewards that.